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Researchers Measure Rail's Positive Impact In Millions Of Dollars

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University of Minnesota researchers working on the Transitway Impacts Research Program have concluded that since the Hiawatha light-rail transit line began operation in 2004 it has increased the value of both single-family and multi-family residential properties in surrounding areas. The total residential property value increase exceeds $47 million, according to the researchers. In addition, researchers found the transitway has spurred new housing construction in the nearby area relative to a control area.


The Transitway Impacts Research Program was established in 2006 to answer questions about the economic, travel, and community impacts of transitway corridors in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The program was launched by the Hennepin County-University of Minnesota and has grown to include a mix of local, regional and state funding partners.

This two-page research brief -- Understanding the Impacts of Transitways -- The Hiawatha Line: Impacts on Land Use and Residential Housing Value -- highlights the study by Edward Goetz and Jeff Mattson. The full report will be leased at a future date.

Researchers explored how construction of the light-rail line from downtown Minneapolis to its southern suburbs has affected residential property values, land use patterns and housing investment.

Among "fast facts" from the research:

  • The Hiawatha Line produced an increase of $47.1 million in residential property value between 2004 and 2007.
  • Single-family homes near the line sold for 4.2 percent more than homes in the comparison area.
  • Homes located closer to stations experienced higher property values due to increased transit accessibility.
  • The negative effect on property values near the light-rail line due to nuisances like noise was much smaller than the positive effect on those properties.
  • The average value of each single-family home located near a lightrail station increased more than $5,000.
  • The average value of each multifamily property located near a light-rail station increased more than $15,500.
  • A significant amount of new housing construction occurred—183 percent more than would be expected.

This research brief has been added to the Best Practices.

Understanding the Impacts of Transitways -- The Hiawatha Line: Impacts on Land Use and Residential Housing Value